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Bicycling Czech intruders plead guilty

Two citizens of the Czech Republic were sentenced today for attempting to illegally enter the United States by bicycling through the International Peace Garden, according to a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Petr Nechanicky, 45, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport an illegal alien and improper entry by an alien. His wife, Stanislava Nechanicka, 37, was sentenced for improper entry by an alien.

Both pleaded guilty in July.

U.S. District Court by Judge Daniel L. Hovland sentenced both to serve 77 days in prison and a combined $120 in fines.

Jan Matejka, a Czech native and permanent U.S. resident, is awaiting sentencing in the case. Matejka, 34, pleaded guilty today a charge of giving a false statement.

According to the initial criminal complaint, the couple planned their border crossing with Matejka during a Skype video chat.

According to the criminal complaint, just days before meeting the couple at the Peace Garden, Matejka drove a U-Haul truck to Ontario from his home in Des Plaines, Ill., to transport the couple's belongings.

On July 2, the couple drove from their home in Toronto, parked their car just miles north of the Peace Garden and bicycled into the garden, where they met Matejka.

After dropping off some belongings with Matejka, the couple jumped a fence and continued south to a meeting place, where they were arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

According to the release, Nechanicky and Nechanicka told agents Matejka was going to pick them up and transport them to Chicago.

After leaving the Peace Garden to return to the U.S., Matejka passed through the border crossing north of Dunseith, N.D. Matejka told authorities he was sightseeing.

After searching his vehicle, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the couple's belongings, which contained their Czech passports, Ontario drivers' licenses and Florida drivers' licenses.

Nechanicky and Nechanicka had entered the U.S. previously on a visa, but were denied entry into the country in Los Angeles in 2008.

Sentencing for Matejka has not been scheduled. The charge of false statement carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.